Fighting games have been around for a very long time, with some dating back as early as the 1980s. Many successful video game franchises today started from the arcades, before the introduction of advanced home consoles and sophisticated 3D technologies.
Now, after more than four (4) decades of innovation and refinements, current-gen fighting games are more brutal, flashier, and fun than ever before! So, when it comes to the most incredible martial arts techniques, diverse characters, and engaging storylines, these are the best fighting games that are currently playable on the PC:
- Street Fighter 6
- Tekken 7
- Mortal Kombat 11
- Injustice 2
- Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite
- Soulcalibur VI
- The King of Fighters XV
- Dead or Alive 6
- DNF Duel
- Guilty Gear Strive
Taking cues from a previously published best PC online games list, here’s a quick summary of each PC fighting game selected:
1) Street Fighter 6
Developed by: Capcom | Release date: June 2nd, 2023
Although some sections of the player base gave Street Fighter 6 mediocre reviews, critics loved it, universally welcoming it with near-perfect ratings/ scores. Being the franchise’s latest offering, the game tries to extend its appeal to a broader target audience, introducing new characters and gameplay elements that jive with the younger generation of gamers.
2) Tekken 7
Developed by: Bandai Namco Studios | Release date: June 2nd, 2017
Tekken is notorious for its brooding, dark story narratives, with plot twists coming from everywhere at once. Still, they cement Tekken 7’s focus on following a more mature approach, staying true to its long-running fan base.
3) Mortal Kombat 11
Developed by: NetherRealm Studios | Release date: April 23rd, 2019
Unlike its competition, the Mortal Kombat series is dedicated to unrestrictive gore, body mutilations, and blood – lots and lots of blood. That’s why Mortal Kombat 11 is widely beloved by its following; the game doesn’t shy away from 18+ violence and dismemberments, both of which made the franchise as lucrative as it is today.
4) Injustice 2
Developed by: NetherRealm Studios | Release date: May 11th, 2017
Fans of the DC universe should already know of Injustice 2; the game depicts an alternate universe where the most powerful and beloved superhero, Superman, finally succumbs to his inner demons. It’s a comic book nerd’s wildest dream, letting us pick which superhero side to support, given that the two (2) leading characters, Batman and Superman, have strong justifications for their actions, leading to their falling-out.
5) Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite
Developed by: Capcom | Release date: September 19th, 2017
While DC enters the fighting game genre through its Injustice series, Marvel does so in collaboration with Capcom, ultimately leading to the latest Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite crossover. Iconic heroes and villains from vastly different realms, like Dante (Devil May Cry) and Ultron (Marvel), finally get to have a go at each other, and we’re the ones benefitting from it.
6) Soulcalibur VI
Developed by: Bandai Namco Studios, Dimps | Release date: October 19th, 2018
For fans of weapon-wielding brawls, Soulcalibur VI is right up our alley. The game’s set in a mix of fantasy and medieval settings, but certain gameplay mechanics spice up the experience, making it distinct from other titles. Plus, there’s Geralt (The Witcher) and 2B (Nier: Automata) to look forward to, among other special additions.
7) The King of Fighters XV
Developed by: SNK, Bandai Namco Studios | Release date: February 17th, 2022
The King of Fighters XV is SNK’s finest release to the series so far, letting us enjoy combat in a more ‘grounded’ manner, so to speak. The art style isn’t jaw-dropping, but it makes us feel more familiar with the characters, unlike those super bulky men and overly-voluptuous ladies from other games (not to say there aren’t any here, but they’re somewhat toned down a little).
8) Dead or Alive 6
Developed by: Team Ninja | Release date: March 1st, 2019
I’ll say it out loud; sexy fighting girls do sell. After all, that’s what the majority of Dead or Alive (DOA) games are known for: its gorgeous, cute, and combat-ready waifus.
After years of positioning itself that way – building what some might call a cult following as well – the ‘conservational’ changes made in Dead or Alive 6 have largely alienated its fan base. However, putting its controversies aside, DOA 6 is still a fun game to play, especially when we can try the base experience for free.
9) DNF Duel
Developed by: Arc System Works, Neople, Eighting | Release date: June 27th, 2022
A largely underrated game, DNF Duel might be lacking a comprehensive character roster or adopts some gimmicky plot narratives, but it offers a refreshing experience away from the mainstream cycle of Street Fighter, The King of Fighters, and Mortal Kombat.
We haven’t even started on the plethora of player-made mods yet, which make the game that much more entertaining, considering it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
10) Guilty Gear Strive
Developed by: Arc System Works | Release date: June 11th, 2021
Guilty Gear Strive is another fantastic fighting game that’s starting to warm up to global audiences. Since the Guilty Gear series began in 1998, not many people knew about it till recently.
Because of how meme-able some of the characters are, such as Jack-O and Baiken, the community has grown significantly since. As such, it might be worth our time to check it out too.
Upcoming (Highly Anticipated)
Mortal Kombat 1
Developed by: NetherRealm Studios | Release date: September 19th, 2023
After the conclusion of Mortal Kombat 11, NetherRealm Studios seems to be both rebooting and expanding the franchise with Mortal Kombat 1 that’s slated to be out this September. It’ll be interesting to see where things go from there, but there’s optimism that we can finally move on from the overused “I must consult the Elder Gods” trope.
Developed by: Bandai Namco Studios, Arika | Release date: TBA
Fans are eagerly awaiting Tekken 8 to discover the fates of a few important characters after the cliffhanger ending in Tekken 7. Thus far, I’d say Tekken has the most engaging story among all the fighting games listed here, even though it has its fair share of out-of-place cringe and quirkiness too.
Are Fighting Games Free on PC?
These days, many games have now gone the free-to-play (F2P) route. On PC, are fighting games free to play too?
No, not all fighting games are free on the PC. We still need to buy many triple-A (AAA) titles from online stores and physical retailers.
That being said, we can get incredible deals during certain sales events or seasonal promos, with some games going for as low as $2 only! It’s safe to assume that almost every PC game still needs to be purchased, though, except for specific F2P online games like League of Legends or Guild Wars 2.
We can still take solace in that many multi-platform games are usually available for the PC, meaning we have a bigger catalog of titles to choose from than current-gen consoles. Plus, PC games are known to be smaller in memory size, but this might only apply to older-generation games, in my opinion.
Regardless, when it comes to fighting games, there isn’t much difference between getting them for the PC or consoles, unless you can benefit from such low prices as mentioned earlier (sometimes, even for free!).
Can I Play PC Fighting Games Offline?
For a majority of us, we don’t like playing games competitively and prefer to enjoy them at our own pace and leisure. So, can we choose to play these amazing fighting games offline at home?
Yes, we can play almost all PC fighting games without going online. Popular game franchises, like Tekken, always have a story mode implemented, to appeal to casual players who don’t wish to play their games competitively online.
Other offline game modes have also been introduced in fighting games, such as Mortal Kombat 11’s randomized Towers of Time. Needless to say, if we’re concerned about showcasing our in-game fighting skills online, we can always play local multiplayer modes instead.
I mean, as fighting games, having a couch player-versus-player (PvP) feature is a MUST. I can’t imagine gamers’ backlash if a fighting game is released without one, let alone those that were badly optimized in the first place.
For one, we can always consider renting them from other players/ retailers instead, testing the waters until we’re sure the game is fun enough to warrant full purchase. Still, it isn’t easy playing fighting games using a mouse and keyboard, so specialized gaming accessories could also be needed if we want the full experience.
Is Cross-Play Available for PC Fighting Games?
In 2023, many developers have begun implementing cross-play support for their games. Is this true for fighting games on the PC as well?
Yes, cross-play is now a mainstream feature that many fighting games support on the PC. We can now battle against online friends who play the same games on gaming consoles, and vice versa.
Even better, many PC games are also compatible with console gamepads, like the PS5 controller. Although this isn’t a major concern for many of us, this could still be a nifty feature that a few of us might benefit from.
With all these in mind, it’s safe to say we will still see next-gen fighting games being released on the PC for the foreseeable future. Some games might be harder to play on the computer than on consoles, but with the proper setup and equipment, this shouldn’t be a problem.